Time to Experiment

I like to cook and when we have been cruising previously a good part of the day-every day- is centered around meals. I love to fix a big omelette loaded with veggies or French toast for breakfast. Lunches are pretty light and fast but for dinners I go all out again. Fresh caught fish (hopefully), some sort of salad, veggie sides, fresh bread of some sort, and homemade sauces. We really don’t subscribe to the “camping” style of eating while sailing. So it may seem surprising that I just received a large delivery of freeze dried food stores delivered in the mail this weekend.

First. Yes, I know there is food everywhere. Yes, I know it helps to stimulate the local economy to shop local. And, yes, I know most vegetables/fruits can be stored for quite a while when stowed properly. I plan on doing all of the above, but I was still looking to find ways to limit the amount of processed and pre made meals. Basically, I want to have the ingredients to make my own soup instead of pouring soup out of a can.

I started getting curious about the freeze dried foods. Apparently they retain about 90% of their nutrients, have no preservatives or salt, and have a 10-25 year shelf life (unopened). Their texture and taste is supposed to be similar to fresh or frozen. Sounds great-load me up!

Still, being a bit skeptical, I thought I would like to try out a variety of the options available before I loaded up the bilges. Last week I ordered a selection of fruits and vegetables from two different companies to see just how much like their fresh counterparts they really are. Also to see if there was a difference in quality between companies. I plan on trying out each ingredient several different ways:
1) In a recipe I already use frequently. (I think this will give me the best test as to how the freeze dried compare)
2) In a recipe that I think will be best suited for the freeze dried.
3) In a new-to-me recipe that looks like it would be good to add to our cruising menu.
I plan on using a mix of fresh, canned, and freeze dried foods-just like I plan on doing in the islands. I’m not trying to make my own MRE meals here.

So, I guess the test kitchen galley is open!

Here is a list of my trial ingredients I have to work with.

20140125-215845.jpg

20140125-220612.jpgCorn
Cauliflower
Zucchini
Tomato
Spinach
Potato
Celery
Green bell peppers
Mushrooms
Blueberries
Edamame
Strawberry and banana
Mixed fruit (strawberry, blueberry, peach, mango, raspberry)

I also picked up chives, cilantro, garlic, and basil freeze dried herbs to play with. I left the meats, dairy, and grains alone for now.

I’ll post my taste-testing results shortly 🙂

Where were we:
ONE year ago: Going Backwads